Freedom or Safety
In 1759, Ben Franklin stated that liberties are of the utmost importance and one who sacrifices their liberties, even for their own safety, is undeserving of both the freedom and the safety that follows. He believed that protecting liberties over and above other concerns is vital to preserving the founding values of The United States.
Ben Franklin accurately portrayed that liberties should be preserved over all else because if they are altered it will lead to a slippery slope resulting in an abuse of power. In 1787 the Constitution of the United States of America was written with two sole purposes. One, to establish a federal government for the United States and, two, to protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens of the United States of America. Under this Constitution, an amendment was made stating that any citizen has the right to carry a firearm for self protection. Due to the recent increase in gun violence, the government has been fighting to put controls on how guns can be bought and sold. A big advocate for gun control is The President, Barack Obama. Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, said regarding Obama "From day one, the President has never respected the right to safe and legal gun ownership that our nation has valued since its founding." (Bradner) The President has shown that he values safety more than the rights clearly given to the people. Once the government starts compromising the rights on which the United States was founded, it may never end. After one basic right is denied, there is nothing stopping someone from permanently altering the way the country runs in the name of safety. Although gun control clearly violates the second amendment, it could save lives, justifying the infringement on our rights. As a result of an increase in mass shootings all over the United States, much of the country has turned to mental illness as the driving factor behind the killings. Evidence has shown that many mass shooters have acute mental health issues. John Russell Houser, despite obvious mental health issues, was able to obtain a gun, which he used to wound nine people and kill two in a movie theatre shooting in Louisiana. NBC reports, “Despite obvious and public signs of mental illness — most important, a Georgia judge's order committing him to mental health treatment against his will as a danger to himself and others in 2008 — Houser was able to walk into an Alabama pawn shop six years later and buy a .40-caliber handgun.” (The Associated Press) Houser was diagnosed bipolar disorder and has been involuntarily committed to a mental institute, but he was still able to procure a gun. While mental health may be the driving factor, he should not have been able to purchase a gun. Stricter gun control, while intruding on basic liberties, could have prevented this man from buying a gun, and, therefore, prevented two deaths. Although liberties are vital to the United States, innocent lives are being risked every day by allowing legal guns to fall into the hands of the mentally ill. While infringing on basic liberties, gun control can save lives, which clearly justifies the loss of liberty in order to maintain safety. The deaths of over 13,286 people in just 2015 alone introduced the idea of gun control. While it is important to prevent the deaths of this many people, it is more important to protect the founding freedoms of United States. Taking away the second amendment right from the people can only lead to an abuse of power. This would undoubtedly result in the the creation of a country no longer recognizable by its citizens. Ben Franklin expressed his views in 1759, and they still hold true today. Liberties are often taken for granted and traded for temporary security. Given the consequences, it is evident that liberties should be protected at all costs and chosen over temporary safety.
Bradner, Eric, and Gregory Krieg. "Obama Executive Action: New Gun Control Orders - CNNPolitics.com." CNN. Cable News Network, 5 Jan. 2016. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.
The Associated Press. "Lafayette Movie Theater Shooter John Houser's Mental Problems Didn't Stop Gun Buy." NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.